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Audio Formats

Audio file extensions and their associated file formats.

3G2 - (3GPP2 file format) is a multimedia container format defined by the 3GPP2 for 3G CDMA2000 multimedia services. It is very similar to the 3GP file format, but has some extensions and limitations in comparison to 3GP. The 3GPP2 file format was designed for CDMA-based Phones and may have the filename extension .3g2

3GP - (3GPP file format) is a multimedia container format defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones. The 3GPP file format was designed for GSM-based Phones and may have the filename extension .3gp

AAC - (Advanced Audio Coding) is a standardized, lossy compression and encoding scheme for digital audio. Designed to be the successor of the MP3 format It has better sound quality and smaller size than MP3. Many mobile devices support AAC format like SonyEricsson's W890i, Sony's Walkman, Apple's iPhone, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, BenQ-Siemens and Philips, BlackBerry, Nintendo's Wii, Creative Zen Portable, Microsoft Zune, (PSP) with firmware 2.0 orgreater.

AC3 - (Dolby Digital AC-3) is the common version containing up to six discrete channels of sound, with five channels for normal-range speakers (20 Hz - 20,000 Hz) (right front, center, left front, right rear and left rear) and one channel (20 Hz - 120 Hz) for the subwoofer driven low-frequency effects like explosion and hammerblow. Batman Returns was the first film to use Dolby Digital technology.

AIFF - (Audio Interchange File Format) The AIFF/AIF file format was developed by Apple Computer. It contains CD-quality audio stored in a non-compressed, lossless format, similar to .WAV files. AIFF files are more commonly seen as .AIF on Windows systems.

APE - (monkey's audio) Monkey's Audio is a lossless compression file format for audio data compression. It can be compressed and reverted without lossing quality. And we can only convert the CD and unpressed WAV to APE for the moment, MP3 is not available. Officially, Monkey's Audio is only available for the Microsoft Windows platform.

AT3 - (ATRAC3 Audio File) Audio file created with Sony's Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding 3 (ATRAC3) compression algorithm; designed for storage and playback on portable media devices, including Sony CD and MP3 players, the PlayStation Portable (PSP), and Sony Ericsson mobile phones. AT3 files may also be seen as .AA3 files, or as .OMG files, which contain Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection.

FLAC - (Free Lossless Audio Codec File) Open-source audio format that uses lossless audio compression, meaning it does not remove any of the original audio data; compresses audio files with no loss in quality. Digital audio compressed by FLAC's algorithm can typically be reduced to 50-60% of its original size, and decompressed into an identical copy of the original audio data.

M4A - Audio-only MPEG-4 files generally have a .M4A extension. It is used to differentiate the MP4 audio files (M4A) and MP4 video files(M4V). The common but non-standard use of the extensions .M4A and .M4V is due to the popularity of Apple's iPod, the iTunes Store.

M4B - (MPEG-4 Audio Layer Bookmarkable File) is, like .M4A, an audio file wrapped within MPEG-4 container format. The audio encoding can be virtually anything, but most commonly used encoding for both .M4A and .M4B files is the AAC.

M4P - (Protected AAC File) The M4P extension is AAC purchased from Apple's Music Store (iTune) and is protected by a Digital Rights Management scheme. AAC is the audio layer from the follow-on format to MP3.

MKA - (Matroska Audio File) Audio container format that supports several types of audio compression algorithms; related to the .MKV video format, but only contains audio data. MKA audio files can also be played on Palm, Symbian, and Pocket PC mobile devices using the CorePlayer Mobile software.

MP2 - (MPEG Layer II Compressed Audio File) Audio format that uses MPEG-1 Layer II compression to reduce the file size; mainly replaced by the ubiquitous .MP3 format, but is still used for digital radio and digital television broadcasts. The standard MPEG II audio format supports 32, 44.1, and 48 kHz sampling rates and bitrates from 32 to 320 kbps/sec.

MP3 - (MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3) more commonly referred to as MP3, is a digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression.It is famous for its large constringent rate which can up to 10:1. And at same time the good audio quality can be reserved on the whole. So the small sized MP3 file can be easily organized and transferred between computers or other devices such as MP3 players.

MPA - (MPEG-2 Audio File) Audio file compressed with MPEG Layer II compression; reduces the file size with having minimal effect on the overall sound quality; based on an the MPEG-1 audio-coding standard and was later updated for the MPEG-2 specification.

OGG - is a free, open standard container format. The Ogg format is unrestricted by software patents and is designed to provide for efficient streaming and manipulation of high quality digital multimedia. '.OGG' is the extension name of the Ogg Vorbis file. It's a very flexible format which can be improved constantly upon the size and qulity and played by any future players. Supported softwares include Sonique, FreeAmp, Winamp, XMMS, and kmpg.

RA - (Real Audio File) Audio file used by RealPlayer, an audio and video streaming program; may reference a streaming audio file online or may contain audio data; can use various codecs to compress audio with variable bit rates; uses a proprietary Real compression algorithm. Real Audio is a common format for playing audio clips within a Web browser.

RAM - (Real Audio Metadata File) Link file used by RealPlayer, a program used for streaming Internet audio and video; saved in plain text and contains a hyperlink to a corresponding .RA file, which can be streamed; includes a "pnm" or "rtsp" URL, which are the protocols used to access and play RealAudio data.

WAV - (WAVE), short for Waveform audio format, is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing audio on PCs. It is the main format used on Windows systems for raw audio. The most common WAV format contains uncompressed audio and uncompressed WAV files are quite large in size, so, it has declined in popularity.

WMA - (Windows Media Audio) is an audio data compression technology developed by Microsoft. It can be played by Mplayer, RealPlayer, Winamp, Windows Movie Maker, and the Microsoft Zune media management software supports most WMA codecs. It's audio quality is better than mp3 when the bitstreams is below 128kbps, but will not get much improvement when the bitstreams gets higher.

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